Top Asian policeman condemns 'anti-Muslim' terror laws

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The Independent Online

Britain's most senior Asian police officer will today warn that anti-terror laws discriminate against Muslims and could "criminalise" ethnic minorities, it has been reported.

The Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Tarique Ghaffur will call for an independent judicial review to investigate what caused the "anger and resentment" of young British Muslims that lay behind the July 7 bombings in London.

Addressing a National Black Police Association conference in Manchester, Mr Ghaffur will also speak about how racism within the police has affected his own career, according to the Guardian newspaper.

He will say: "Not only has anti-terrorism and security legislation been tightened across many European countries with the effect of indirectly discriminating against Muslims, but other equally unwanted practices have also emerged, including 'passenger profiling' as well as increased stop and search and arrest under terrorism legislation."

Mr Ghaffur, who started his police career with Greater Manchester Police in 1974, will argue that stopping and searching tends "to be based more on physical appearance than being intelligence-led", the paper reported.

He will say: "There is a very real danger that the counter-terrorism label is also being used by other law enforcement agencies to the effect that there is a real risk of criminalising minority communities.

"The impact of this will be that just at the time we need the confidence and trust of these communities, they may retreat inside themselves."

Ahead of today's conference Keith Jarrett, chairman of the National Black Police Association, said that racism in the police service "had not gone away".

He told Sky News: "The majority of the police service are decent, hard-working people who are not bigoted but the people who are bigoted will always be bigoted.

"But I know routinely black youths are stopped simply because they're black.

"Senior officers in the police service in London have said to junior officers, 'You will go out and you will stop black youths wearing these clothes and in this age group because they are the ones that are committing robberies'. Now that is institutionally racist."

Chief Superintendent Ali Dizaei, another senior ethnic minority officer with the Metropolitan Police, said he agreed with what Mr Ghaffur planned to say.

"What's clearly happening and what we have been told is that the Muslim community, particularly the young Muslim community, are increasingly concerned about what's happening in the Middle East.

"They're increasingly concerned about the disproportionate impact of anti-terror laws, not just by the police but by other law enforcement agencies."

But Mr Dizaei said whether the perceived discrimination was likely to cause "extremism" was "anybody's guess".

He said on BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It's a problem. We don't know at the moment what the extent of that discrimination is and that's why Mr Ghaffur is saying, let's look at an inquiry, let's find out whether this is actually taking place - and if it is, what we can do about it."